Hey there Benign Reader– I’ve missed you. You, me? Yeah… (Said in Elmo voice. Elmo voce!) I’ve been thinking about marriage lately. Mine, specifically, and the intolerable burden of attending to the metaphors associated with it. I’m speaking of the bonsai tree my cunningly creative father gave us on our second wedding anniversary.
It’s a great anniversary gift idea, I’ll grant you: “Take this bonsai tree and care for it with a tender heart, just as you should tend to your marriage.” It’s clearly intended metaphorically, as well as, you know, botanically. But what if you have a keen sense of metaphor paired with a black thumb?
I am morally obliged to keep this tree alive. Nay, not simply alive; it must thrive. Yet, I’ve been known to kill philodendrons—the heartiest house plant extant—with my earnest attentions. How am I going to keep this tree going?
The problem isn’t simply that I’m ignorant of bonsai care; I’m also uninterested in learning about it. It’s like financial planning; I know it’s important, but GOD is it boring. I’ll rank bonsai education ahead of anything to do with money management, but it still ranks below my Netflix queue.
Did you read what I just wrote? Caring for my bonsai tree doesn’t interest me; I’d rather watch Orange is the New Black. Now replace bonsai tree with marriage and join me in my bondage. There is nothing I can do, say, or think with respect to that bonsai, that isn’t automatically a reflection of my actions, words, and thoughts about my marriage. Witness:
- Is my marriage too dry? Maybe it’s supposed to be dry. I don’t want to drown it, though… maybe it’ll be stronger if I just ignore it for now.
- My marriage is outgrowing its pot. I already repotted it once—do I have to again? How long does this repotting continue? Maybe it’s like A Fish Out of Water; instead of repeatedly giving it a bigger pot, I should just feed it less.
- I think I’m supposed to prune my marriage from time to time, but where do I make the cuts? And how can I be sure cutting will promote growth? This just goes against all my instincts—better just to let it go.
- Can my marriage survive outdoors?
- I’m supposed to dust my marriage?! When will the insanity cease? Water doesn’t cut it—should I use Simple Green? Maybe a terrarium would have been a better idea.
- I can display my marriage in this airy spot where others can view it and the sun can drench it, but then the kids will climb over it and the cat will chew on it and puke up the pieces later. Tucking my marriage into a dark corner seems the safer bet.
- My marriage keeps shedding leaves, but it doesn’t seem to have any glaring bald spots so it’s probably meant to be that way.
Thank you for the clever anniversary gift, Papa! I owe you one.
Before I go, here’s a little reminiscence Husband and I shared recently:
Hey Husband, remember that time we invited the neighbor boy over and let all three kids play, unattended and with semi-permanent paints?
Yeah… that was memorable.
We were so young.
It was 30 minutes ago.
Do you think we’ll have to replace the dry wall?
I should tidy things up around here… When was the last time I looked at any of those links on the right? And the banner at top… you’d never know the Kitten is actually a walking human being now. There’s a defunct countdown in the bottom margin, and those FAQs aren’t writing themselves. Though, actually… I think FAQs are supposed to write themselves, yeah? Got any questions for me? And before you go there: The meaning of life is 42 and the average annual rainfall of the Amazon river basin is 80 inches.